August 16, 2013

Biotechnology is panacea to agricultural challenges – DG

Biotechnology has been described as a tool for solving global agricultural, medical, and industrial challenges.

Prof. Bamidele Solomon, the Director-General, National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), expressed this opinion in Abuja during the week at a two-day Training on Biotechnology organised by the Biodiversity and Climate Research Group of Sheda Science and Technology Complex (SHESTCO) in Kwali, FCT.

He said that biotechnology tools were handy in agriculture, food science, and environmental science in the industry, forestry, basic sciences, mining, medical, veterinary medicines and the sciences.

“Biotechnology provides solution to most agriculture, medical and industrial challenges facing the world today.

“If biotechnology were human, it will be a young person because it is sharp, intelligent, quick, resourceful, and almost always on point. Biotechnology is the future. We should think biotechnology, talk biotechnology and eat biotechnology.’’

Solomon said the application of biotechnology in agriculture would protect crops from diseases, control pest, drought and promote flood resistant crops with nutrient supplements.

He added it would also ensure quality crop production and enhanced and sustainable food production.

Solomon said biotechnology could be used for the removal of allergens and the improvement of safety as well as the provision of more nutritious foods for the populace.

“The application in medicine: we have new medicines, cheaper medicines, new vaccines and designer medicines coming up. Now, the Generic Modified (GM) model we use today for human is safer and of course cheaper.

“In the environment, we use biotechnology to clean up the soil, conserve plants and animals, for record keeping and for managing endangered populations.

“Then in industry, it is newer and cheaper chemicals that are coming up. We have processed raw materials, new materials and for waste clean-up.

“Of course in forestry, we can produce trees that will not be invasive; we can have better pulp-in qualities when we want to produce paper.

“Less pollution will come up, faster growth so that we can ward off desertification. Pest control and then of course designer wood that will have different colour.

“So why do we use Genetically Modified Organism (GMO)? They are safer, better qualities, they have less waste, less energy, they are more environmental friendly and more sustainable.’’

The Director-General stated that the world’s attention had shifted from conventional crops to improved biotechnology crops so as to meet the food requirement of the growing population.